Shielding and protecting those deemed extremely vulnerable

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable including children. This is also applicable for their family, friends and carers if they live with them or care for them.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable are at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus (COVID-19). They should have received a letter advising them to shield or have been told by their GP or hospital clinician.

What do we mean by extremely vulnerable?

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

1.    Solid organ transplant recipients

2.    People with specific cancers:

  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs

3.    People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.

4.    People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).

5.    People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.

6.    Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but can now leave their home if they wish, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing. If you choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of your own household. If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household. Ideally, this should be the same person each time. If you do go out, you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart. This guidance will be kept under regular review. Visit gov.uk for the latest information. 

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